Fifa corruption arrests: Sepp Blatter 'quite relaxed' and confident he is 'not involved'

Fifa spokesman Walter de Gregorio described the president's reaction, saying: 'He is quite relaxed, he knows and it's confirmed today that he is not involved'

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The Independent Online

Fifa has been hit with two major criminal probes and seen its annual congress rocked by morning raids by the Swiss police.

But despite the accusations of "institutionalised corruption" from the US Department of Justice, the organisation's president Sepp Blatter is expected to be re-elected for a fifth term on Friday.

At a press conference in Zurich, Fifa's director of communications Walter de Gregorio told reporters the presidential election would go ahead as planned, describing it as "not related" to the unfolding corruption drama.

And speaking about any possible pressure on Mr Blatter, he said: "The president is not involved, so how can you say he has to step down? He was not involved."

Asked about Mr Blatter's state of mind, Mr De Gregorio said: "First of all he is focussed on congress, let's just say the stress factor is a little higher today than yesterday.

"But he is quite relaxed, he knows and it has been confirmed today that he is not involved."

Channel 4's Keme Nzerem pointed out to Mr De Gregorio that at any normal organisation hit by decades of scandal, the leadership would at some point be held to account.

He said he did not mean that Mr Blatter was "dancing in his office".

"He is just very calm and fully cooperative," Mr De Gregorio said. "He's not a happy man today, but he knows this is the consequence of what we initiated. It's a surprise it happened today, but not a surprise it happened."

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